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Another unexpected pandemic side effect, this one involving the Girl Scouts

June 16th, 2021 at 12:36 AM
Girl scout cookies

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted our daily lives in so many overt ways, from masking and social distancing requirements in public to even things far afield from the virus itself. Like WarnerMedia, for example, deciding to simultaneously release its entire 2021 movie slate on HBO Max the same day the individual movies arrive in theaters, a move in response to people being still skittish about returning to theaters, especially with the Delta variant of the coronavirus now rampaging across the country.

And there’s still plenty more second- and third-order effects of the pandemic you can point to, like car insurance companies refunding a portion of people’s monthly premiums — since, it stands to reason, it’s not fair to keep charging people the same rate when they’re mostly stuck at home, right? Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts are also reporting yet another unexpected coronavirus side effect: The organization is stuck with millions of boxes of unsold Girl Scout cookies on its hands, for the obvious reason that the pandemic has hurt the tradition of selling them in person, door-to-door.

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In a statement shared with CNN, the Girl Scouts of the USA said they have 15 million boxes of surplus, unsold cookies this year. Even more extraordinary, the pandemic clamped down so hard on this tradition that 12 million of those boxes never even left the warehouse after the cookies were baked. “It’s exceedingly rare to have significant excess inventory but the pandemic greatly impacted our cookie program, despite demand for cookies remaining strong,” the Girl Scouts told the news network.

For some additional context, the Girl Scouts usually sell little less than 200 million boxes of cookies each season. Also, the surplus noted above is in the aggregate — some local girl scout troops did not experience a surplus.

What’s interesting about this news is not that it’s in any way comparable to the other serious consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather, it’s that in everyone’s rush to declare the pandemic over, with governors scrambling to reopen their states and people racing to get back to normal as new cases continue to plummet, there are still all sorts of consequences and after-effects of this health crisis — some, like this one, which are a bit unexpected and others that might not even be felt until farther down the line.

There are plenty of others you can point to, including everything from an increasing shift toward digital payment solutions instead of cash (a la Apple Pay) and more contactless experiences so that people can spend as little time as possible in crowded places like department stores. And now that states like New York and California have begun to lift most coronavirus restrictions, we should start to see what comes next in relatively short order.

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Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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